Through her innovative application of the concept of "scandal," Nathalie Buchet Rogers has brought new life to the subject of women in the nineteenth-century French novel. This study investigates the nineteenth-century tendency to mythicize the feminine question, thus transforming everything related to it, especially feminine sexuality, into fiction. "Scandal," which Rogers defines in economic and historical as well as in symbolic and aesthetic terms, informed most discourses on women - be they political, scientific, medical, or openly fictional.
In the first part of the study, Rogers asserts that the nineteenth century was incapable of managing femininity. In the male unconscious, fantasies of feminine perversion and transgression came to crystallize the main anxieties that plagued the imagination: among them loss of political, social, and sexual differences in modern society; fears of degeneration and disease; and turn-of-the-century Freudian theories of castration. From an aesthetic point of view, Rogers shows scandalization to be a duplicitous textual phenomenon which threatens to contaminate and subvert any discourse that seeks to conquer it. Scandal is thus seen as realism''s strongest thematic temptation as well as its potential aesthetic nemesis. In the second part of the study, Rogers examines the dynamics of scandal in seven novels that focus on female characters: Flaubert''s Madame Bovary, and selected novels by Balzac, Sand, Zola, Barbey d''Aurevilly, les Goncourt, and Rachilde. Drawing on psychoanalysis, narratology, and deconstructionist and feminist theory, Rogers contributes to a better understanding of the strong yet ambivalent ties that link the representation of feminine energy and desire to realist and naturalist aesthetics. Fictions du scandale will interest students and scholars of the French novel, comparative literature, and women''s studies.
Nathalie Buchet Rogers (d. 2007), Wellesley College, avait édité des oeuvres sur des aspects du roman du XVIIIe au XXe siècle aussi que des issues qui traitent plus directement du XIXe siècle, qui était son spécialité.Nathalie Buchet Rogers was a French professor at Wellesley College. She completed her Masters and PhD in French Studies at Brown University.